Supporting my Dad to care for my Mum


Registered User
Jan 12, 2009
North Somerset
Good morning.

I first registered here three years ago but as I haven't posted since then, I thought I'd better introduce myself again. I originally registered because I thought my mother was developing dementia and I was seeking advice. Soon after, she was diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment, despite my protestations that it was more serious than that. I persuaded my father to get further tests done privately and, sure enough, she was diagnosed with Alzheimers and prescribed Aricept.

Inevitably, things have moved on during the least three years. She is in the moderate stages now, moderately happy and moderately coping - as are we all. I have recently moved from London to Somerset to be closer to them and to support my Dad to support my Mum. I am self-employed and work from home, so the trick has been to impress on my father that this does not mean I am at his beck and call 24/7...

And that, I think, is where I am having problems - in setting boundaries. I want to support my Dad rather than to become my Mum's carer, but 'supporting' him seems to consist of our arguing about the best approach to caring for my mother. I do understand that this is difficult for him - he is still in denial about the diagnosis and hates it when people say it will get worse. I have to remind him constantly that it is not helpful to say to her, 'but I told you that ten minutes ago!', for example, or that not feeding her until late at night just won't do.

I do sometimes think I am making things worse, not better, by 'showing up his shortcomings', as he told me today. My mother has ill-fitting dentures but decided that her dentist was responsible for her dental problems and refused to visit him. I persuaded them both to visit my dentist instead and she is now getting these problems fixed, but meanwhile she should be using denture fixative. She won't do so, as she says she doesn't need it and she's fine (meanwhile her dentures are wobbling up and down). Inevitably, she is having difficulty eating, but Dad says this is her choice and he can't make her.

He said the same thing when Mum started bleeding as a result of piles, when she refused to go to the doctor. Her stock answer is that she has had piles since giving birth to twins (that was in 1960!) and she is absolutely fine. I found blood in her knickers months later and, to cut a long story short, she had a year of discomfort before I lost patience and made the GP appointment myself.

Clearly, I need to find some tact from somewhere! Any suggestions?


Registered User
Dec 21, 2008
Grandad likes playing with his teeth wobbling them up or down.

He also gets upset if a lot of fixative is used on his teeth because when the teeth are put in it then oozes out and sticks to his gums.

Would the tape be better than fixadent or something similar?

Good luck.


Registered User
Jan 9, 2012
Don't really have much to offer. It must be very difficult for you finding the right balance. You can only do your best. Offer suggestions but in the long run if your Dad decides he knows what's best for your Mum, not a lot you can do at this stage.


Registered User
Feb 20, 2011
It really is difficult isn't it, I try to support my Dad as best I can but it is my Mum who pushes us all away, she is going through a paranoia phase at the moment and still isn't accepting her diagnosis despite being diagnosed and on Aricept for 2 1/2 years. I have stopped being tactful and just tell the truth as I see it, I am not popular at times but it's now like water off a ducks back. I hope you can find some middle ground with your Dad and the members on here throw out some fantastic advice :D

P.S. Loose dentures are often a subtle sign of weight loss.


Registered User
Dec 18, 2006
You have my full symapthy. While not in the same situation as we live hundreds of miles from my MIIL/FIL, we have been going up and down the motorway trying to arrange care for my MIL, only for FIL to pronounce he is coping fine (he is not - MIL is often left in wet clothes) and threatening to send the carers away.


Registered User
Jan 12, 2009
North Somerset
Thank you all very much indeed for your advice.

That's good advice about the dentures possibly being loose because of weight loss. My mother is a very slight woman and doesn't eat much anyway. Not only is it awkward eating with the wretched dentures but she has no sense of taste/smell any more, no interest in food and Dad does all the cooking. :eek: However, her dentures are loose because one of the two remaining upper teeth holding them in place rotted and fell apart. They have both been removed and the dentist is making a new plate that will wrap around (if that makes sense). Meanwhile, we have been told to use fixative for the old dentures and not the tape.

I do recognise my Dad's desire to let my Mum remain independent and in charge of her own affairs for as long as possible, but I think it's all of a piece with his own denial of the diagnosis. He still asks her how she is, to which she always says she's absolutely fine and he accepts that. When I visited today, the house was like a fridge and I asked if we could put the heating on because Mum's hands were like ice. My Dad, wearing an Icelandic sweater (!) said it wasn't cold and that Mum had said she was fine. 'Yes, she always says that, but it doesn't mean it's true!' I said, at which point he lost his temper with me. Then Mum agreed with me that she was, in fact, cold, at which point he lost his temper with her and protested, 'but that's not what you said earlier!'